An excerpt from my blogpost ten months ago…
In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. 2 The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there. 3 Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. 4 The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband (Ruth 1:1-5 NLT).
Famines were sent by the LORD upon Israel during the time of the Judges as the result of spiritual wandering into pagan occult practices. Interestingly, the household of Elimelech was from Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” Elimelech took his family outside of Israel to a foreign and pagan country, which was forbidden by the LORD. Yet, we will see how the LORD brings good from this, though with the great loss that always accompanies failure.
It was better to be part of a famine that belonged to the LORD, as did Israel, than to be in a place of prosperity filled with idolatry, as was Moab. Spiritually speaking, I think we all can attest that it is very easy to go into the wrong direction but very hard to leave that wrong direction in order to come back to the right way. And so, Elimelech was out of the Will of the LORD, and suffering did follow.
Source: Ruth’s Choice